Inept Leadership

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It is maddening!

Patty and I enjoyed dinner this evening with a couple who, since 2001, have pioneered an incredible church planting minsitry in the midlands of England. They started by using a cafe and as relationships were built, graduated those interested into their “church in the pub” down the street. Their work has attracted a menagerie of wounded, broken souls who would never darken the door of a typical church.

But now, their denomination has had enough of such unorthodox ministry. In a very political move, the traditionalists who oversee them have declared them “redundant” and said “Thanks, but your services are no longer needed.”

While such leadership abuse is tragic, it may be a blessing in disguise and finally help this wonderful couple eject from a broken system and allow them to transition into a ministry posture where they will be blessed and appreciated for their apostolic giftedness and passion.

I wish this was an isolated anomoly. But it’s not. The more I scratch the surface of British institutional religion, I keep coming across church leadership that is exquisitely educated, brilliantly intellectual, amazingly articulate, vision-less and bureaucratic.

So it is not surprising that when such people control the power, the money and the positions, the institutions they lead are dying, even if they don’t recognize it. It is also not surprising that God is not stymied by such leadership ineptitude and will accomplish his purposes in new, fresh kingdom expressions and structures that out of necessity must circumvent the establishment. It has always been that way throughout the history of the Christian movement. And it always will be. But it is still maddening!

6 Responses to “Inept Leadership”

  1. Mike Says:

    Hey Sam, sometimes I wish you’d just come out and say what you mean! :-) You give me courage to continue to be the unorthodox radical I am! My community thanks you! ! !

  2. alexander campbell Says:

    Hi Sam, there is a recent update report on stuff going on outside the existing church structures on http://www.simplechurch.co.uk . it is a followup to the main report I did for the Mission 21 conference last year and reflects on what is going on at a grass roots level – unseen and unrecognised by most in the existing church structures, usually because it neither looks like ‘church’ nor falls under their sphere of ‘control’.
    As has been the case for 100’s of years the 2 key issues at stake in all this are: money and power.
    Now you’re in england it’d be great to meet sometime!

  3. Patrick Says:

    St. Patrick’s Apology was written, scholars say, to defend himself against Church leaders in Britain who sought his removal. So, nothing new at all. Paul, from what I can tell, ran into the same problems.

    Success upsets power structures, so the powerful upset the successful. But, like you said, it’s not going to stop the Holy Spirit who will be increasingly decentralizing the Church I suspect.

    I think we are in a wonderful, wonderful time of seeing this transition happening, even as its terribly frustrating for many of us to see success rejected for nebulous ‘reasons’.

  4. John Hagedorn Says:

    It is not just Britain. Protestant Churches in Russia are, for the most part, stagnant due to abuse of power as well as “vision-less and bureaucratic” leadership. When leaders do not (or can not) discern the Spirit’s leading and lack the humility/courage to empower others, politics wins out, people are hurt and the church suffers. If a movement is to start here, as there, it will most likely start outside of the present church structures. It makes me shake my head. Thanks for reminding us that “God…will accomplish his purposes in new, fresh kingdom expressions and structures that out of necessity must circumvent the establishment.”

  5. David Says:

    I agree, that this can be blessing in disguise. This happened to us, and God has pretty much blown the doors off of ‘how’ we want to do church.

    I kinda feel like we’ve gone from flying a plane to jumping out of one! :-)

  6. Makeesha Says:

    now doubt about that David.

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